Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Capable of being shaped or formed: plastic material such as clay. See Synonyms at malleable.
  • adj. Relating to or dealing with shaping or modeling: the plastic art of sculpture.
  • adj. Having the qualities of sculpture; well-formed: "the astonishing plastic beauty of the chorus girls” ( Frank Harris).
  • adj. Giving form or shape to a substance: the plastic forces that create and wear down a mountain range.
  • adj. Easily influenced; impressionable.
  • adj. Made of a plastic or plastics: a plastic garden hose.
  • adj. Physics Capable of undergoing continuous deformation without rupture or relaxation.
  • adj. Biology Capable of building tissue; formative.
  • adj. Marked by artificiality or superficiality; synthetic: a plastic world of fad, hype, and sensation.
  • adj. Informal Of or obtained by means of credit cards: plastic money.
  • n. Any of various organic compounds produced by polymerization, capable of being molded, extruded, cast into various shapes and films, or drawn into filaments used as textile fibers.
  • n. Objects made of plastic.
  • n. Informal A credit card or credit cards: would accept cash or plastic in payment.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A sculptor, moulder.
  • n. Any solid but malleable substance.
  • n. A synthetic, thermoplastic, solid, hydrocarbon-based polymer.
  • n. Any similar synthetic material, not necessarily thermoplastic.
  • n. credit or debit cards used in place of cash to buy goods and services.
  • n. Fakeness, or a person who is fake or arrogant, or believes that they are better than the rest of the population.
  • adj. Fake, snobbish. Usually refers to a person.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Having the power to give form or fashion to a mass of matter.
  • adj. Capable of being molded, formed, or modeled, as clay or plaster; -- used also figuratively.
  • adj. Pertaining or appropriate to, or characteristic of, molding or modeling; produced by, or appearing as if produced by, molding or modeling; -- said of sculpture and the kindred arts, in distinction from painting and the graphic arts.
  • n. A substance composed predominantly of a synthetic organic high polymer capable of being cast or molded; many varieties of plastic are used to produce articles of commerce (after 1900). [MW10 gives origin of word as 1905]

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Capable of molding or of giving form or fashion to a mass of matter; having power to mold.
  • Capable of being modeled or molded into various forms, as plaster, clay, etc.; hence, capable of change or modification; capable of receiving a new bent or direction: as, the mind is plastic in youth.
  • Pertaining to or connected with modeling or molding; produced by or characteristic of modeling or molding: as, the plastic art (that is, sculpture in the widest sense, as distinguished from painting and the graphic arts).
  • In biology, specifically, plasmic
  • Applied by Liebig to the proteid constituents of animal food as serving to form the principal tissues of the body, in contradistinction to the non-nitrogenous portion of the food, which he called respiratory as serving for the production of bodily heat by their oxidation.
  • Capable of receiving and of responding to environmental impulses which induce more or less rapid evolution of an organism as a whole or of certain of its organs: the opposite of conservative and persistent.
  • n. The art. of modeling or molding; sculpture.
  • n. A molder; a modeler; a statuary.
  • n. The commercial name for any one of a class of substances, such as celluloid or viscose, which are worked into shape for use by molding or pressing when in a plastic condition.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a card (usually plastic) that assures a seller that the person using it has a satisfactory credit rating and that the issuer will see to it that the seller receives payment for the merchandise delivered
  • n. generic name for certain synthetic or semisynthetic materials that can be molded or extruded into objects or films or filaments or used for making e.g. coatings and adhesives
  • adj. capable of being influenced or formed
  • adj. forming or capable of forming or molding or fashioning
  • adj. capable of being molded or modeled (especially of earth or clay or other soft material)

Etymologies

Latin plasticus, from Greek plastikos, from plastos, molded, from plassein, to mold.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin plasticus ("of molding"), from Ancient Greek πλαστικός (plastikos), from πλάσσειν (plassein). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Although almost all the talks given at the conference were about plastic pollution in our oceans, the resulting "Honolulu Strategy Document" from the conference doesn't use the term plastic pollution once.

    Lisa Kaas Boyle: Occupy the Environment

  • Before going further, we first had to narrow the topic by differentiating among the wide spectrum of procedures that are often lumped together under the term plastic surgery.

    Vivian Diller, Ph.D.: Does Beauty Bring Happiness?

  • Sadly while Iain Dale may have invented Blogging, he is certainly not the inventor of the term plastic poll card as he claimed yesterday, and again back in 2006 when he puts the date of this achievement as "way back in July" 2005 when preparing a speech with David Davis for the second reading of the iD Cards Bill.

    Iain Dale: False Claim of Coining Plastic Poll Tax

  • The term plastic surgery usually makes people think of fake breasts and Botox injections but there are a whole slew of operations for all kinds of medically necessary problems.

    EzineArticles

  • Some lakes don't allow real minnows at all (dead or alive), so the plastic is a great way to get the minnow in to the fish.

    Gulp! Gulping?

  • You may despise this diabolically durable man-made material, as many of us do; the word "plastic" has become shorthand for anything artificial, cheap, shoddy, disposable.

    Kerry Trueman: You May Not Be Into Plastic, But Plastic Is Way Into You

  • Now, having said that, if there were to be a recovery, experts say, that it would most likely happen in a child, because they have more of what they call plastic brains; they're able to move functions from one part of the brain to the other and they're more resilient -- Miles.

    CNN Transcript Jan 20, 2006

  • Think what has been done in plastic surgery, what is being done in what I call plastic psychology!

    Captivity

  • This is what they call plastic surgery on a welfare budget ...

    The Velvet Hot Tub | Freshest Stories

  • The council has enumerated what it calls plastic bag myths.

    Vos Iz Neias - (Yiddish:What's News?)

Comments

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  • And we had hardly gone on a few paces, when we entered what might easily have been taken for a majestic temple, with lofty arches, supported by beautiful pillars, formed by the plastic hand of some ingenious artist.

    - Karl Philipp Moritz, Travels in England in 1782

    November 14, 2008